As a new year and a new decade arrive, the Franklin Home Page reached out to various community leaders to get their outlook on 2020. Most responded by email, while a few had given their visions through a recent Franklin Tomorrow FrankTalks lecture.
Matt Largen, Williamson Inc. CEO
(From his presentation at the Dec. 9 FrankTalks)
A recent 10-county survey that found that 85% of people who responded said the Nashville area economy will be about the same or better in 2020. That’s really important. I think people have a lot of pride, they expect this economy to continue to be strong.
The question we always ask — whether it’s developers, real estate, people in retail — is, do they see a recession coming? I think people can predict a recession 100% of the time after it happens. We’re not going to know until after it happens. But I think the great thing about the Nashville economy, as diverse as it is, while we’re not immune to [a recession], we’re more recession-resistant.
From a pipeline standpoint, our office is currently working 43 active projects, with projects referring to companies either looking to relocate or expand in Williamson County. That’s high. We’re usually in the mid-30s, so things are busy from that standpoint.
It’s really interesting the way this economy has moved over the last decade. It used to be that real estate was the most important thing for a company when they looked to relocate. Now it’s really about the workforce. Job creators are creating jobs where workforce exists. It’s through in-migration, talent retention and education pipeline.
And the talent retention and pipeline piece are really the more stable and predictable facets of economic development and that’s where our focus is. We work so closely with the schools, because we know that’s the workforce of the future. We also know that’s the reason why people move here, because we have great schools in Williamson County.
Ellie Westman Chin, Williamson County Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO
(From her Dec. 9 presentation at FrankTalks)
We had 1.72 million visitors in 2018, and our goal is to have 2 million visitors by the end of 2020. Visitors are spending, on average, $1.31 million per day.
We have a lot going on in 2020 — McEwen Northside, Olivia Olive Oil in Harpeth Square, Americana Tap House [former Puckett’s Boat House, the old Dotson’s property, the Harpeth Hotel. Having that happen down to First Avenue is so important, because from a visitor’s perspective, it expands our footprint. We have awesome shops and galleries off of Main Street, so I’m hoping people will go exploring even more.
I’m here talking about visitors, but anything that we do, that we open or rebuild, is good for residents too. As a resident, I’m thrilled about these things, and as somebody who’s supposed to bring visitors in, I’m thrilled about these things. So it really works across the board.
Mindy Tate, Franklin Tomorrow executive director
For more than five years, Franklin Tomorrow has been educating and explaining the concept of an inclusive playground to anyone who would listen and it will be part of the city of Franklin's new Southeast Park. Along with other organizations and the city, we are part of an Executive Planning Team and so we are excited about that.
We are also excited to study the results of OnThe Table 2019 and release those to the public in early 2020. These results will shape our strategic initiatives and work for 2020 and perhaps years to come, so we will be able to say more in January.
Lisa Clayton, City of Franklin Parks director
Projects moving forward with Master Planning, design, construction documentation, bidding and construction from the Parks Department in 2020.
- Finalize design and bid the bridge project for the Southeast Municipal Complex.
- Finalize design for the Phase I of the Southeast Municipal Complex.
- Finalize construction documentation and receive city approvals for Bicentennial Park and begin construction in 2021.
- Begin design for Phase II of Liberty Park
- Finalize construction documentation and receive city approvals for the Main Barn at the Park at Harlinsdale Farm and begin the restoration project in 2021.
- Finalize design and bid the Aspen Grove Park to Mack Hatcher Greenway project.
- Finalize city approvals, bid and start construction of the Franklin Special School baseball/softball project.
Pam Bryant, United Way area president
In 2020, I’m looking forward to working in our community with our newly merged organization. As United Way of Greater Nashville, we’ll be able to drive greater impact, create better understanding, develop stronger relationships and facilitate easier engagement — to ultimately build an even brighter future for our growing community.
We’ll also be offering companies the opportunity to achieve their Corporate Social Responsibility goals utilizing Salesforce Philanthropy Cloud. With this new technology, companies can have a full view of their philanthropic impact and be able to engage employees in philanthropic endeavors — all while tracking total social responsibility.
The landscape of philanthropy is changing. Today’s rising philanthropists demand to know that their gifts matter. They want to feel connected to the causes that they support. United Way is connecting people to their neighbors, empowering them to make a difference and making it easy to create scalable change in real time — in our neighborhoods and across the globe.
I look forward to working with community members in more ways to advance our fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community.
Kevin Riggs, Franklin Community Church pastor
As I look forward to 2020, I am excited about the continued progress that will be made toward a permanent homeless shelter in our city/county. In 2019 I was blown away by the community support we received in helping the homeless. I look forward to increased awareness and I am confident our community will do the right thing.
For 2020 I am also looking forward to erecting the statue of the United States Colored Troop soldier in front of the courthouse.
The main challenge I would like to see addressed in 2020 is the drug epidemic plaguing our communities. It is time we come together as a community and say, "Enough is enough!" No one else in our community should die from a drug overdose or from bad drugs that are being sold on the streets.
Over 2020, I will also be praying that our state will abolish the death penalty. Most people in our community are pro-life, so we should take the lead in saying the answer to violence is not more violence.